Hear Paul McCartney Reveal How John Lennon’s Death Led Him To Write ‘Here Today’
“It was just too deep. It’s just too much. I couldn’t put it into words. “
By Scott Bernstein Dec 22, 2022 • 9:54 am PST
On December 8, 1980 the world lost one of its greatest artists when John Lennon was murdered outside his apartment building in New York City. Lennon’s songwriting partner and Beatles bandmate, Paul McCartney, had a seemingly flippant reaction when first publicly asked about the loss of John. However, Macca “couldn’t really talk about” losing Lennon and went on to pour out his emotion in song as he penned “Here Today” in honor of his friend.
Journalists cornered McCartney on December 9, 1980 following a recording session held at a studio on Oxford Street in London. When asked for his reaction Paul responded, “Umm, very shocked you know. It’s terrible news.” McCartney spoke in a fairly casual tone and added, “Drag … isn’t it?” Paul’s blasé reaction to the horrific event was roundly criticized.
Paul McCartney discussed writing and recording “Here Today” for his 1982 album Tug Of War as well as the aftermath of John’s death during a recent interview with SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel. Macca detailed the emotion he was dealing with and why he reacted the way he did, telling SiriusXM’s Tom Frangione:
When John died, it was so difficult. It was difficult for everyone in the world cuz he was such a loved character and such a crazy guy, you know, that he was so special. And so it had hit me so much so that I couldn’t really talk about it. I remember getting home from the studio on the day that we’d heard the news he died and turning the TV on and seeing people say, “well, John Lennon was this,” and “what he was, was this,” and “I remember meeting him,” and it was like, I don’t know, I can’t be one of those people. I can’t just go on TV and say what John meant to me. It was just too deep. It’s just too much. I couldn’t put it into words.
Paul was working on what would turn out to be Tug Of War starting in December of 1980. “Once the emotions had sort of settled a little bit, I was in a building that would become my recording studio and there were just a couple of little empty rooms upstairs,” McCartney explained. “So I found a room and just sat on the wooden floor in a corner with my guitar and just started to play the opening chords to ‘Here Today.'”
McCartney wrote “Here Today” as a fictional conversation with John Lennon he wished he could have. A portion of the song features Paul’s memories of an experience he had with Lennon in Key West. “The night we cried, that was to do with a time when we were in Key West down in Florida,” he noted. “And for some reason, I think it was like a hurricane, something had been delayed and we couldn’t play for a couple of days. So we held up in a little motel. So what would we do? Well, we’d have a drink and we would get drunk.
“We didn’t have to play. So we did that night, we got drunk and started to get kind of emotional, you know, ‘oh, you were great when you, I love that,'” Macca recalled. “You know, we started, it all came out, you know, but on the way to that, there was a lot of soul searching. You know, we told each other a few truths, you know, ‘well, I love you. I love you, man. I love that you said that. I love you.’ And we opened up. So, that was kind of special to me. I think that was really one of the only times that ever happened.”
Listen to Paul McCartney talk about losing John and “Here Today” below:
Paul McCartney: Tug Of War: Track-By-Track Album Special airs on SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel (Ch. 18) today (Thursday, December 22) at 1 p.m. ET. The special can also be heard any time on-demand via the SiriusXM app.
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